Focus V Carta review - Performance
The Focus V carta is equipped with two 18350 batteries which last for a surprising amount of time, considering the fact that the heat-up time for the device’s four temperature settings is almost non-existent. We’ve tried exhausting the batteries by doing multiple sessions on 410°C and the device beat us with half of its battery life still untapped. We can therefore safely assume that a night with friends on a single charge is perfectly doable. The batteries charge via USB-C cable and take about 2 hours to fully charge inside the device.
Low-temp vaping with titanium buckets and quartz buckets puts different amounts of stress on the batteries. The quick heat up time even on higher temperature makes quartz ideal for instant high-temperature vaping, while titanium, once seasoned, could be considered more suitable for drawn-out, low-temp vaping as it retains heat better. That being said, the more fragile quartz buckets are also suitable for low-temp vaping as they ensure a pristine flavour. A hot and hurty hit is possible at 450°C (compare this, for example to the Puffco Peak’s ‘peak setting’ of 315°C), which will send you flat on your back. The first two temperatures are ideal for low temp, terpy vaping and even on the third setting you’ll be getting flavourful vapour for 2 to 3 hits.
The buckets are spacious enough for large dollops and the Focus V Carta features an astonishingly fast heat up time. As the buckets are not fixed to the atomizer, there’s bound to be a temperature disparity between bucket temperature and temperature setting. This is evident from the fact that the vapour only gets harsh at the highest setting, the aforementioned, dizzying 450°C. The other settings (260°C, 332°C; 410°C) provide flavour that is easy on the throat and lungs. The unit contains a good compromise between long hits on the one hand and saving battery life and concentrate on the other with its heating mode active for about 45 seconds. Going in for the second long hit will require you to reactivate the heating element with a single push of the control button.
The glass bubbler has a sizeable air intake and will resist clogging. The straight sides of the glass bubbler makes sure you can fill the bubbler with a decent amount of water which, aside from cooling your vapour, provides substantial draw resistance. Get ready for some long, deep and dense drawing action on the Focus V Carta. You’ll be happy to know you can rip away without getting any splashback from the water.
Focus V Carta review - Build quality
The Focus V Carta has somewhat of a plasticky feel to it but it weighs reassuringly heavy in your hand. The control button does feel and sound a little platicky as well and the led indicator could have been designed better to ensure that the light doesn’t reach areas it’s not supposed to light up. We’re nitpicking here, but that’s what we’re here to do, after all.
The unit’s quality glass bubbler feels solid with and its large air intake will more than likely not clog. You can put a decent amount of water in there which makes for improved draw resistance and particularly lengthy draws.
Threading on atomizers usually spells trouble, with concentrate vapour condensing inside the threads making it hard to unscrew the separate components. In this case, with a quite wide threading, the issue does not really present itself. The plastic ring sealing off the rim of the atomizer screws on clockwise, which means you’ll unscrew it if you catch it when screwing the atomizer in the rig. On the plus side, this seemingly counter-intuitive approach allows you to easily unscrew the ring to replace a bucket while the atomizer remains firmly in place.
Focus V Carta review - User friendliness
If the types of concentrates you use are suitable for cold loading, we recommend you do so. The device heats up rapidly, in a matter of seconds, and even its lower temperature settings will vaporize your concentrates at an alarming rate. Putting your concentrates in a bowl after it’s already heated will result in some unnecessary loss in concentrates so make sure you pre-load your bowls. The Focus V Carta therefore has another ace up its sleeve with buckets that can be changed while the atomizer stays in place.
App integration for full temperature control
The good folks at Focus V have provided an integrated app that allows full temperature control as well as customizing session time and the option to save your favourite vaping temperatures. You can also record your total session time and number of hits. The app is indispensable for vaping herbs and a very nice addition for people who’ll want to precisely manage the release of active compounds in different concentrates.
The Focus V Carta has one button, which is all you’re ever going to need. Click it five times to activate or deactivate the device, which will immediately show remaining battery life. One click to cycle between the four temperature settings with haptic feedback alerting you when the temperature’s been reached (also, the leds will stop blinking and turn from blue to green). After 45 seconds, haptic feedback will alert you when the session is over and it only takes one push of the button to get the device heating again. All pretty straightforward.
As e-rigs go, this one is seriously portable, in the same sense that the Ghost MV1 or Mighty are portable vaporizers: bring it with you when travelling or as the life of the party but don’t expect to stuff this e-rig in a trouser pocket. The carrying pouch will protect the glass bubbler just fine and it’s a nice touch by Focus V that they don’t force you to shell out a few extra euros for it. Other than that, the fact that the batteries can be charged externally makes sure you can take the Focus V Carta on some prolonged camping trips in the great wide open. Something to look forward to.
Focus V Carta review - Maintenance and accessories
What’s in the box?
The box comes with carrying pouch, a borosilicate carb cap, a concentrate atomizer with a titanium and two quartz buckets, a concentrate tool, 2 18350 (2400 mAh) batteries, a USB-C cable and a wax chamber. The removable batteries make the Focus V Carta stand out among its peers. The device comes with a limited 3-year manufacturer’s warranty. Other accessories available are a herb atomizer, a beautiful helix glass bubbler, spare straight glass bubblers, carb caps and titanium and quartz buckets, additional batteries and replacement concentrate atomizers. The good folks from FocusV will gradually release a number of interesting glass bubblers you can use to customize your Carta with, the Helix and the Helix Pill being two of them. Expect some great water-meets-vapour vortexes with these two beautiful add-ons.
The herb atomizer requires app integration to reach temperatures that are herb-friendly. There’s a reason why the herb atomizer is listed under accessories: in our humble opinion, the Focus V Carta is first and foremost a concentrate vaporizer. There seems to be a ceramic coating inside the herb atomizer which should keep your herbs tasty and fresh. However, the vapour travels through intake holes at the metal top of the herb atomizer and encounters some other metal parts along the vapour path which probably accounts for the slight metallic aftertaste. The herb atomizer performance in terms of taste is on par with a mid-range herb vaporizer but its remarkable heat-up time does make this rig a viable option for vaping herbs.
Cleaning the Focus V Carta
Bathing the glass bubbler in hot water will do the job. However, reclaim tends to collect in the air path between the bottom of the atomizer and the opening of the glass bubbler. Clean the airpath regularly with an isopropyl alcohol swab, as well as the thread holding your atomizer on to the base to avoid a gummed-up atomizer and a restricted airpath.
Focus V Carta review - Pros and cons
- Excellent battery life
- Very short heat-up time
- Hot and hurty - no joke
- Well-designed air path
- Excellent flavour, particularly so with the quartz bucket
- Compatible with herbs
- Full temperature control with app integration
- Quite portable
- Somewhat plasticky look
- Cleaning can be a little tricky
- Screwing/unscrewing atomizer and its components can feel counter-intuitive
Focus V Carta review - Who is this for?
Vaping concentrates on the go is still mainly the domain of concentrate pens and only a few, such as the Linx Blaze, are truly convincing. If you’re looking for a device that’s more versatile in terms of temperature settings while still being reasonably portable, the Focus V Carta is right up your ally. Terpy, low-temp vaping as well as eye-watering, mind-erasing high temp hits at the push of a single button. Upping your concentrate game by exerting full temperature control and still maintaining a comfortable level of portability is what the Focus V Carta is all about.